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NHL should embrace third jerseys more with cross-conference jersey rule

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The NHL should require teams to wear third jerseys when hosting a team from the other conference during the regular season.

Florida Panthers v Chicago Blackhawks Photo by Bill Smith/NHLI via Getty Images

It’s “Sports Jersey Week” on the SB Nation network, with websites across the network sharing their thoughts on their teams jerseys and others in their sport. It’s a network-wide effort, so they are being called jerseys instead of sweaters. Calm down.

When the NHL switched from Reebok to Adidas for its jersey manufacture teams didn’t have third jerseys. After some pushback, the next year teams started to have third jerseys but they still aren’t wearing them nearly enough.

The NHL should implement a jersey rule which states teams should wear an alternate jersey when they host a team from the other conference during the regular season. In 2021, Seattle will make the NHL a 32-team league with 16 teams in each conference. This jersey rule idea would require teams to wear an alternate jersey for 16 home games against teams from the other conference.

Now, you’re probably thinking about the 10 games — five home and five road — the Blackhawks play against the other Original Six teams and how the League wouldn’t want to implement such a rule for those games. And you’re probably right. Let’s say the NHL really lean into the Original Six concept and has teams wear retro jerseys that aren’t the normal alternate jersey. Outdoor games during the season would serve as an exception for all teams to deviate from the plan as teams wear special jerseys for those games.

For home games against non-Original Six teams from the Eastern Conference, the Blackhawks would bring back their black third jersey. For home games against Original Six teams, they would decide to wear their jersey from the 2009 or 2019 Winter Classic.

These rule ideas would increase teams wearing third jerseys and give fans select dates they know their team is going to wear them when the schedule is released.


Which third jersey rule idea are you in favor of?

This poll is closed

  • 26%
    16 home games
    (53 votes)
  • 73%
    11 home games (five retro games vs. Original Six teams)
    (148 votes)
201 votes total Vote Now


Which retro jersey do you want to see the Blackhawks wear?

This poll is closed

  • 62%
    2009 Winter Classic
    (133 votes)
  • 37%
    2019 Winter Classic
    (80 votes)
213 votes total Vote Now